Boonah Show wrap up

Thanks to everyone who came to Boonah to say hello at the quilt show on the weekend. Jan and I had a great time and were really inspired with many of the quilts in the show. Of course I did take a photo or two so prepare to be quilt-bombed!!



Wonderful aren’t they? Lots of colour this year which seems to be the trend in the quilting world.

And in the Apatcheez world there was also colour and inspiration over he past couple of weeks –

Margaret made these placemats and tablerunner


And while she was on a roll these evolved from the Australian floral stacks (that were also a big hit at Boonah)


Suzanne finished her Sashiko cushion-


Chris finished another small quilt with her wonderful free motion quilting-


Dee finished one the “boy version” of her Aussie stitchery quilt –


And Pat really got stuck into the February project-of-the-month and managed to finish four aprons! Don’t the vibrant colours of the Kaffe Fasset Collective fabric pop?


I wonder what we’ll see this week to impress? Until next time….happy quilting


2015 Challenge Winners

The Apatcheez had a great time at the Christmas party/Challenge reveal on Saturday. This is the fifth year we have run the challenge and three people (Jan, Chris and Lynette) were rewarded for having entered a project each year. That’s what I call consistency. We had twelve quilts this year and they were so interesting it made it very difficult to judge. Just think how great it would be to have 27 quilts on display – that’s how many attended our party. So there’s a challenge for next year – if you didn’t enter this year you’ve got 365 days to come up with something for next year!

We continued with the Viewer’s choice method for both the winner and runner-up. With such a wide brief it would be too difficult to find someone qualified to make a decision – so I leave it to you! You’ll recall that the theme this year was ‘Home’.

I apologise for the quality of some of these photos but I know you want to see the entries NOW and this is what we have to work with. I’m sure the teenager-in-residence must be responsible for the blurred ones….

So….drum roll please….. this year’s winner was actually two people as there was a tie so this year’s winners, and the recipients of a $100 Apatchy Quilting voucher (that’s one each they don’t have to share) are…..

Julia – she used photographic fabric to create this beauty


and Lesa – who, again, used non-traditional methods including Inktense pencils to create this masterpiece –


Again, I apologise for the poor photography here but the reflective glass in the frame made a photo extremely difficult. Blame this one on me.

And the runner up, for a second time in two years, and the recipient of a $50 Apatchy Quilting voucher is Margaret with this wonderful creation


We were all looking at this on the day and every time you looked you found another little detail – it really is a lot of fun.

Several people mentioned how difficult it was to put only one project’s number in the prize box and you can see why when you have a look at the entries. Here are the remaining entries –

Angie actually followed a pattern to make this – something she doesn’t always do – and she did a great job. Look at those points….perfect!


Pat, a first-time entrant made this little piece based on a quilt she made for her daughter. It isn’t sideways but the number is – we fixed that after the photo.


Faith, another first-time entrant, gave us one of the blocks from her Baltimore Santa quilt. She used to be devoted to reproduction fabrics but I think you can see that we’re turning her to the light side! Beautiful needleturn work on this one.


Jan made this for her son. It is a drawing of his old house mounted (very cleverly with magnets) to an old piece of tin from the property and used barbed wire as a hanger. We thought it might be a problem with health and safety handling this one so we put it up out of reach!


Maureen showed us the life she leads when she she goes off with her caravan club buddies – and it certainly looks like a good one.


Lynette pleased everyone with this fantasy garden, complete with dense quilting which is her forte.


Dee, another first time entrant, made this lovely quilt. She is such a well-travelled lady and this amusing quilt showed us a home of another land – love the fur-lined hood!


Chris didn’t disappoint – delighting us with this whimsical landscape that is so much her style. Who wouldn’t want this hanging in their sewing room to inspire them?


And finally, Robyn’s entry is here.


The photo doesn’t do this one justice as there was so much to see in the multiple applique pieces – great work Robyn!

And I also entered a quilt – just to show solidarity with those brave enough to enter the competition. It had to be done in three nights so it had to be simple and it had to be graphic. So here it is…


XLN Fabrics, who are the purveyors of the beautiful fabric I tempt you with – the Amy Butler florals, the Tula Pink fantasies and the Kaffe Fassett Collective colour explosions, very kindly donated fabric bundles for the lucky door prizes.  Here’s Heather very happy to win hers –


And here’s Faith, the-quilter-formerly-fond-of-reproductions-fabrics-but-now-almost-converted-to-COLOUR with hers –


I would also like to thank Teresa who brought her houses quilt in as an exhibit – unfortunately I didn’t get a very good photo of it by itself but you can see it in the background here


That photo shows Chris opening her secret Santa gift – this year we swapped needle cases and I think everyone was satisfied with their choice. As one person said “there were no duds this year”. Absolutely!

The other nice thing was the community that the group has – even though many only see each other at this time of year. The morning classes rarely see people from the evening classes but, as the teenager-in-residence says ‘there were no skirmishes’.

He distinguished himself by working flat out at the front desk – giving people their viewer’s choice forms and writing out raffle tickets. Here he is during peak time


And lots of people helped pack away at the end of the day which was really appreciated. Some washed up –


some wrapped leftovers



and some re-arranged furniture even though they were told not to “in their condition”.


Generally, everyone had lots of fun



There were more prizes, more gifts and more smiles but you get the idea. So thanks everyone for a lovely day. Until next time

Happy quilting






Christmas party

Just a reminder that the Apatcheez are getting together on Saturday (5th December) to celebrate Christmas with a secret Santa needle case and the unveiling of the challenge entries for this year. Bring a plate if you would like to attend. The venue is the Presbyterian Hall, Queen’s Road, Clayfield and the event will be from 10am to 2pm. If you have an entry for the challenge please hand it in to me by Friday.

Looking forward to seeing you there……


And the stars look very different today….

imageThere was less of a crowd than I had expected at the Bowie show in Melbourne today. Those of us there waited expectantly, as our tickets were checked and we were allocated headphones and a recording device. The crowd had grown during this process but filed quietly into the doorway that marked the beginning of this amazing retrospective. Almost reverently, with bowed heads, the assembled shuffled into the space, reading about the life and times of this amazing artist.


Had I closed  my eyes while I listened to Space Oddity I may have been 15 again, sitting in my bedroom with a cassette recorder listening for the first time. But I could not close my eyes as there was much to see – from the video of the song with the strange angular, thin man with crazy orange spiky hair and funny eyes to the sheet music from which it had all evolved to photos of the time – the moon landing and the photograph of earth from the moon. Maybe, because this had happened on my 10th birthday I was somehow more connected to the event and the song that had been (paradoxically) used at the time to underscore it. Maybe it just came at a time when I was most impressionable. Whatever the reason, ever since I heard that song I have been enamoured of Bowie’s music and art and his ability as a showman. How he managed to bring the avant garde to the masses and his ability to metamorphose himself into different characters, at a time when other artists took the easy road and repeated themselves until they lapsed from mediocrity to insignificance – well it beggared belief. His greatest design was and is himself and it it this design and his influence on culture that is presented at this show. And what a show it is – here is a taste.

imageMany of the costumes used in his music videos and on album covers were here – looking strangely still on faceless mannequins. He must be a small man – not very tall and quite a petite frame – I thought the same when I saw Admiral Nelson’s uniform at the museum in Greenwich but of course both men had no need of physical stature.image

Apparently there is a vast archive of his belongings – like Warhol (another person who needs only one name) he must have kept everything from the significant to the everyday. There are posters and rough notes for songs, costume designs and lighting plans for concerts. Such was his certainty that he would be famous he clearly kept it all. And good thing too.imageThe iconic Aladdin Sane woollen costume by Kanzai Yamamoto  looked vaguely sinister without the mannequin inside don’t you think?imageAnd what has this to do with quilting? Well Bowie was certainly an influence for many musicians but he also influenced modern culture. Was his interest in the Kabuki theatre, the fashion and the Japanese culture something that led to the popularity of Sashiko and Japanese textiles? Possibly. When he dressed in suits that had a female cut did that somehow lead us to the modern penchant for asymmetrical design? Maybe. And did his interest in the use of unusual cloth such as knitwear or sparkle lead us to innovations in the texture of art quilts and their ilk? I like to think so.

I think I feel a quilt coming on…commencing countdown engines on…

Until next time happy quilting


Massed Flowers and Quilts

After the Laidley show weekend you would have thought the next weekend would be quiet but no – we managed to pack quite a lot into the days. Friday night was the teenager-in-residence’s formal and I trust you enjoyed the photos in the last post. On Sunday we decided to take a very pleasant drive to Toowoomba and see what all the fuss was about with the Carnival of the Flowers. For those who haven’t seen this spectacular make sure you add it to your diaries next year because it was definitely worth the trip. In fact we all decided we should stay for a couple of days next time so we could see everything. One day just wasn’t enough.


Of course while we were there we had to check out the quilt show and see what the Toowoomba quilters had been busy doing all year. Like the massed flowers in the parks, the quilts were arranged en masse and they really were quite striking. With so many techniques on display there was something for everyone from intricate appliqué to avant garde art quilts. Here’s a few to whet your appetite:-


This one didn’t have the maker’s name anywhere I could see. It featured beautiful needleturn and sashiko in an interesting way.image

imageDorothy Cottee – Talking PointimageTrish Ostwald – StonefieldsimageSorry about the main photo – there was a breeze where this was hanging. This was a beautiful quilt with lovely needleturn and clever fussy cutting like the piece above.

imageimageJean Swincer – A Bug’s LifeimageimageNorelle White – New from Old What a great way to showcase doilies!imageimageLyn Crimp – AFGEPPABimage

Lyn did amazing quilting on this (no surprise there) and there were interesting angles on the borders.imageRobyn Ginn – Quilted Wallpaper The photo doesn’t do this one justice.imageKathy Adams – Hobart – What a Site! This was an amazing art quilt which utilised printable fabric in a clever way and texture too – each piece of the grid was separately bound.imageimageKerrie Klan – Graduation Quilt for MatthewimageDorothy Cottee – Memories of Notre Dame

Our own Apatcheez have also been busy as usual – here’s what they’ve been up to:-

Maureen's modern quilt made with multiple half square triangles -nice one Maureen

Maureen’s modern quilt made with multiple half square triangles -nice one Maureen

Tracey's finished the baby quilt just in time

Tracey’s finished the baby quilt just in time

Margaret manages to make Audrey even more magnificent

Margaret manages to make Audrey even more magnificent

Suzanne's tea cosy design goes medieval

Suzanne’s tea cosy design goes medieval

Don’t forget the Apatchy challenge for the end of the year – due on 4th December – and the theme ‘Home’.

After the success of the pincushion swap last year, we thought we’d try the same type of thing this year at the Christmas Party only this year we’ll make it a needle book. If you would like to participate just bring a needle book as a gift. We’ll mix them all up and call numbers. When we call your number you get to choose a gift et voila you’ll have a new addition to your sewing tool arsenal.

Also now’s the time to start thinking about a trip to Melbourne for the AQC (Aust Quilt Convention. It is on mid April and I’m sure accommodation will go quickly.

That’s about it this week – until next happy quilting


Formally yours

Last Friday it was the teenager-in-residence’s formal and we hosted the ‘pre’. I have been asked for some photos so here goes.

He scrubbed up quite well don’t you think?


Once the girls arrived and discovered the fabric room they decided it would make a great backdrop for photos – which it did. Aren’t they all beautiful?




Even the back view of their gowns were amazing:


The rain stopped just long enough for some photos around the pool:


and some fun:


And then the limo came to take them to City Hall for a lovely night


I’ll update you with quilting news soon but thought you might like to see how our apatchee has grown!

Picture 062

Until next time happy quilting


Lovely Laidley

I was chastised at Laidley Quilt show on the weekend for not keeping up with my blog posts. The lady in question was from Murwillambah and mentioned that she looked forward to my posts and noted that it had been a while….. Ok Apatcheez I’ve been a bit slack but here goes…..

Before we get to Laidley let’s recap what the ladies have been doing over the past couple of weeks. Margaret has been very productive and wowed us with this quilt for her friend…

Not to mention the pillowcases she made with printable fabric


Naturally her friend was very impressed.

Lynette also made a quilt and pillow for her friend and we have seen this coming together over the past few weeks – isn’t it lovely?


While on the subject of people making quilts to give away, Robyn, who is always very generous with her creations finished this striking quilt which she donated to be raffled for an organisation which provides medical aid to women in Uganda.

Robyns uganda quilt

Chris is still making quilts but had a little hiatus recently which produced this beauty –


Mum and Dad came up to help with the Laidley show and Mum brought a few of her recent pieces to show-and-tell. We didn’t know whether to be inspired or depressed when we saw what she’d been able to achieve in a couple of months. Here are just a few of the projects-


Impressive isn’t she??? Not bad for 85!

As I mentioned, the reason she was here was to help deliver the Apatchy experience to the good people of Laidley and their visitors. Dad lugged the boxes from the car (and back again when it was all over) and Jan and I arranged and re-arranged until we were happy with the stall. With Mum on customer service it was time for the show. The good people of Laidley put on a great show as usual and even ordered perfect weather. The little touches like the table decorations are just one sign that this is a special event.


Here are some of the quilts that were on display ….


The organisers made sure that each stall holder was also demonstrating their craft. We had Jan in charge of that department and she showed everyone how easy the hexies are to make into great projects. Speaking of great projects isn’t this lady’s necklace great?


Another demonstrator showed everyone how easy and satisfying hand quilting is to do. She certainly made it look easy…


You can see how neat her stitching is in the photo above. She said she hopes to finish the quilting by Christmas – which shows you that quilting isn’t fast (especially if you do it by hand) and that it involves lots of work.

Of course it wasn’t all work – there was the street parade to watch on Saturday, lots of craft stalls to wander through to see what treasures you could find to bring home or maybe to eat there (don’t ask me about the incident involving the coconut ice stall. Let’s just say they made record profits this year). And let’s not forget the strawberries and ice cream. Laidley is famous for this delicacy and many people enjoy a serving after a hard day’s festival-going. Here’s a couple of people who did just that.


Until next time, happy quilting


Coat of many colours and an event not to be missed

Although I’ve been absent from Smoke Signals for a couple of weeks the Apatcheez have been very busy as usual. I won’t show you all the lovely creations in one go but here are a few. Some girls are working on their challenge – don’t forget about that – details here. Others have new projects. Some are thinking about holidays and the star this week is Sharyn who is one of those – about to embark on a long trip to Europe. What does every traveller need for the continent? Why a quilted jacket of course. Sharyn made this beauty and brought it for show-and-tell this week:-


It was a big hit wit those of us at the class and many have plans to make one as their next project.  I shared this photo on Facebook, as Sharyn knows, and there were several ‘likes’. What Sharyn didn’t know was that I also shared it on a group I follow – the Kaffe Fassett Collective and you can see the response below. See how many people like it? And there were 22 comments – all of them complimentary. Many of the people who follow this group are American and they know a thing or two about quilted jackets.

Facebook Sharyn

Well done Sharyn – even the teenager-in-residence was impressed with those numbers!

Sharyn wasn’t the only one impressing us over the past two weeks. Chris finished this beauty


Chris is very precise in her work and it shows – all her seams are perfect! She has been concentrating on her free-motion quilting this year and is proof that practice-makes-perfect in that area too.

Our hexie projects continue to be popular and Margaret surprised us with this charmer last week


Not content with that she also finished her sashiko tablerunner. Sashiko is one method that has been extremely popular with the Apatcheez this year – I blame June who was converted when she travelled to Japan on a quilting tour – or was she struck before that? Anyway she has infected many of the girls with the sashiko bug.


Over the years there have been so many beautiful projects finished by the Apatcheez, it is difficult to believe we have been here for seven years this month. Of course such a milestone cannot go by unnoticed so earmark this coming week for some bargains with our annual

balloons2 sale sign

This week only, from Monday, you can enjoy 20% off all stock (apart from block of the month) and, if you’ve been clever enough to be a Geronimo Club member you will receive an additional 10% – so that’s a great big 30% off all stock – one week only – here’s your chance to grab that fabric that’s been calling to you over the past few weeks!

If you can’t make it to the store don’t despair – just mention SALE in your comments when you order online and you’ll receive the discount too.

Speaking of the website – we are pretty well up and running with the new website – a couple of tweaks to make it super dooper but most of the fabric is loaded onto the site. If you haven’t visited for a while go and have a look and let me know what you think. It is at 

See you next week. Until then, happy quilting





A Challenge is Announced

It’s time to announce the annual Apatchy challenge. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make an item that is inspired by the theme. All the entries will be displayed at the annual Christmas gathering – to be held this year on Saturday 5th December. This means that your entry must be in by the 4th December. And the theme…..well just hold on for a moment while we review things……

It has been QUITE a while since we last spoke and so now there is much to share including projects from the Apatcheez:-

Suzanne utilised some Apatchy fabric in a very creative way. 100% cotton is great for sewing clothes - here's proof

Suzanne utilised some Apatchy fabric in a very creative way. 100% cotton is great for sewing clothes – here’s proof

Debbie's 'if it isn't in here I don't need it' hold ALL bag

Debbie’s ‘if it isn’t in here I don’t need it’ hold ALL bag

Joan's remarkable 3D cushion using yoyo's and bias stems

Joan’s remarkable 3D cushion using yoyo’s and bias stems

Next there was a trip to the quilt show at Brookfield. These girls always have interesting challenges and this year was no exception. The challenge was over a period of around 18 months and involved adding borders or other embellishments to a centre on point. Here are two examples –


And here are two more –


Then they had some other amazing quilts to see like these two –


Anyone who is anyone was at the show and it was quite a sport spotting the rich and famous


A short trip to Sydney was a welcome break from the end of year BAS calculations and the like. It was a beautiful weekend and everyone, including the birds enjoyed the sunshine –


To add to the enjoyment the wattle was out


Back at the ranch we all enjoyed the finished Apatcheez projects last week

We've enjoyed watching Bev hand quilt this beauty for a while now and it was great to see it finished. An awesome example of reverse appliqué

We’ve enjoyed watching Bev hand quilt this beauty for a while now and it was great to see it finished. An awesome example of reverse appliqué

Pat nailed her version of the kid's quilt kit

Pat nailed her version of the kid’s quilt kit

And Pat also whipped up this bespoke eye spy quilt in a very short time

And Pat also whipped up this bespoke eye spy quilt in a very short time

And on the weekend it was time for the Sherwood quilters show. They too had some excellent entries –


The Sherwood group also had a very interesting challenge which involved each person drawing a number which corresponded to a page in a magazine. Whatever was on the page was the inspiration for the challenge. The Apatchy challenge is a bit broader than that ( or narrower depending on your perception) as it involves a word for the inspiration. And this year’s word is….’Home’.

So get your creative juices flowing  – maybe you’re thinking literally of your home, or a bird’s nest or a rabbit’s burrow. Maybe it’s a song like ‘Green Green Grass of Home’. The teenager-in-residence, who enjoyed a birthday last week came up with a Motley Crue song with home in the title. How you’d quilt that I can’t imagine, but I can imagine some other ideas coming to life on the fabric. Hope you can too.

I’m sure we’ll talk more about this and I’ll give you more information about the venue and so on as we get closer to the time of the unveiling. Until then, happy quilting


Ooh la la I see owls

The French Festival was held this weekend at Southbank in Brisbane and, as a devout Francophile, it was important to be there and be surrounded in all-things-French. From can-can dancers to crepes and an occasional glimpse of Marie Antoinette it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday (apart from the queue for the crepes).




Naturally it was essential to bring some joie de vivre home and that came in the form of macarons. Since I had a solo weekend (Luvvy and the teenager-in-residence were away visiting) that evening and the next were spent sewing more one-inch squares together for the “My Small World” project. Put it down to the lack of company but I may have spent a little while trying to incorporate the two – fabric and macarons that is. What do you think?

image image image image image image

It was almost as much fun finding fabric to ‘stage’ them as it was eating them. Actually, no, it wasn’t.

The Apatcheez were also busy this week. The glory for most finishes this week went to Chris. She brought these two quilts for show-and-tell, both of which featured rather wonderful owls.



We were all very impressed with these and the quilting that Chris has been perfecting. Well one of the group was just cold and preferred to take advantage of the chair quilt – literally!


Hope your week was productive too. Let me know what you did. Until next time happy quilting.